Trump nominates Wheeler as permanent EPA administrator

By Erin Voegele | January 09, 2019

On Jan. 9, President Trump formally nominated Andrew Wheeler to serve as administrator of the U.S. EPA. Wheeler has held the post of acting administrator since July 9, 2018, following Scott Pruitt’s resignation earlier that month. 

Wheeler’s nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

Trump first nominated Wheeler to fill the role of deputy administrator of the EPA in January 2018. The Senate approved that appointment on April 12, 2018 by a vote of 53 to 45.

Information released by the White House in October 2017 indicates Wheeler previously served as a principal and head of the energy and environment team at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting. Prior to joining Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, he worked at the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for 14 years serving in various roles, including as the majority and minority staff director and chief counsel. He began his career at the EPA as a special assistant in the toxics office where he received three bronze medals.

The American Coalition for Ethanol has spoken out in response to Wheeler’s nomination, urging him to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard take action to allow year-round E15 sales. “We congratulate Acting Administrator Wheeler on his appointment by the President to formally lead EPA and encourage U.S. Senators to learn from the lessons of Scott Pruitt’s short tenure at EPA,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “Prior to his confirmation by the Senate, Mr. Pruitt promised to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard as the law of the land and support the President’s commitment to E15 and higher ethanol blends. However, during his time at EPA, Administrator Pruitt undermined the RFS with an unprecedented number of backdoor small refinery exemptions (SREs) and resisted reallocating those blending obligations or allowing E15 use year-round. Former Administrator Pruitt’s abuse of the law and broken promises force Mr. Wheeler to overcome a very high bar to win confirmation in the U.S. Senate. Senators can make sure history does not repeat itself if they insist Acting Administrator Wheeler provide them tangible evidence EPA will reallocate the blending obligations waived for small refiners and have a legally-defensible Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief rule for E15 finished by the 2019 summer driving season before voting to confirm him.”